March 19, 2015

Choosing Not to Flee: On Helen Macdonald’s ‘H is for Hawk’ 0


The echoes of myth in Macdonald’s writing, however subtle and unobtrusive, lend her book an emotional weight usually reserved only for literature, and a grace only for poetry.

March 18, 2015

All This Hyperconscious Bad Faith: Horacio Castellanos Moya’s ‘The Dream of My Return’ 0


If he could get healthy, and stop drinking, he might find a girl with a sweet ass, like his wife.

March 9, 2015

The Inanity of American Plutocracy: On Paul Beatty’s ‘The Sellout’ 1


Beatty’s voice is as appealing, erudite, and entertaining. It is a lacerating, learned, witty, and vulgar voice — brash and vulnerable and self-righteous in its jeremiad against self-righteousness of any kind.

March 6, 2015

All the Dumb Young Literary Stand-Ins: On Arthur Bradford’s ‘Turtleface and Beyond’ 1


These are often stories about young men doing stupid shit, or young men not doing enough good shit, or young men doing good shit in the wrong way.

March 4, 2015

An Intimate Guest: On Lynne Tillman’s ‘What Gets Kept’ 0


Tillman’s authorial voice is singular, and her spoken voice is, too. It’s truly an amplification of the voice on the page. Many people have remarked on the quality of Tillman’s voice: its strength and intellect, its wit and warmth. It’s also raspy, sensitive, perceptive, keen—delivered with a New York accent.

March 3, 2015

Cohesion Is Not Continuity: On Sarah Manguso’s ‘Ongoingness’ 0


There is a remarkable sureness to this book, a calm hush like that of a person who speaks softly so that you lean in to listen.

March 2, 2015

On Forgetting: Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘The Buried Giant’ 5


At some moments, I felt I had found an apocryphal eighth Chronicle of Narnia, written by a particularly cheerless, possibly aphasic disciple of C.S. Lewis.

February 26, 2015

Tough Love: On Mac McClelland’s ‘Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story’ 1


Irritable Hearts is a memory of recovery, a thoughtful and well-researched record of one woman’s experience with a subtle and often terrifying condition.

February 26, 2015

A Bloodletting: On Mark Doten’s ‘The Infernal’ 8


All the lies and deceit of the last dozen years, the courage shown and the suspicion that it meant little, have been brought together in one place, between the covers of a single book. Here’s hoping that people open it.

February 25, 2015

Bugged and Bruised: On Jason Ockert’s ‘Wasp Box’ 1


Ockert reveals how sometimes evil arrives not with a bang or a whimper, but with the calming buzz of the inevitable.